Maps, media, Theology of the Body, and more
By Carolyn Astfalk
Books and online resources for you and your classroom!
By the Book
Family-based chastity education
LoveEd: Raising Kids that Are Strong, Smart, and Pure by Coleen Kelly Mast “is designed to equip, guide, and educate parents to talk more comfortably and effectively with their children about life, love, and sexuality.” For use in a parish, classroom, or home setting, LoveEd includes resources for the implementation of its three-part program comprising a parent training event, a parent/child event to guide conversation, and take-home reading materials. Parent/child events are gender- and age-specific, with video and print materials for boys and girls ages 9–11 and 11–14.
A simple timeline for facilitators includes necessary materials, preparation, list of duties, and goals. The materials, which have received a nihil obstat, reinforce the parents’ role as primary educators of their children. Sensitive subjects are addressed frankly with age-appropriate explanations, and chastity is presented in a positive, life-affirming manner. Materials are contemporary, attractive, and engaging. Visit SaintBenedictPress.com for all of LoveEd’s components and resources.
TOB K–12 Curriculum
Ruah Woods Press is rolling out a K–12 Theology of the Body curriculum, authored exclusively by graduates of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and “designed to weave easily into your current Catholic religion curriculum.”
For the K–5 level, two literature-based units are offered for each grade. Using a teacher’s guide and companion children’s literature (such as the classic Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey), the Rooted curriculum examines basic themes stemming from the Theology of the Body. In addition to a lesson guide and tips for classroom application, book recommendations, online resources, and cross-curricular ideas are provided.
For grades 6–8, themes center on “learning self-gift through self-expression.”
At the high school level, Called to Be More presents the Theology of the Body within the USCCB framework. It includes “online lessons, student video testimonials, discussion questions, saint stories, prayer, activity ideas, and more.”
To purchase or inquire about teacher training, visit RuahWoodsPress.com, where you can request a free five-day trial of the online curriculum.
Exploring vocations through fiction
Theresa Linden, author of awarding-winning Catholic teen fiction, has added another book to her West Brothers series. Standing Strong follows twins Jarret and Keefe as they discern God’s will for their lives. Jarret must learn how to live virtuously when the high of his conversion fades, while Keefe musters the courage to answer what might be God’s call to religious life. With flawed characters and relatable, real-life challenges, Standing Strong is a compelling resource for discussions about Christian living and vocation discernment. For more information, including bulk discounts for classroom use, visit TheresaLinden.com.
Increasing social emotional learning
The Flexible SEL Classroom: Practical Ways to Build Social Emotional Learning in Grades 4–8 by TCT author Amber Chandler provides resources and worksheets for teachers. Covering five content areas (Self-Management, Self-Awareness, Decision Making, Relationship Skills, and Social Awareness), The Flexible SEL Classroom examines, through personal example, possibilities for capitalizing on everyday learning opportunities with specific suggestions for classroom implementation. Available from Eye on Education and AMLE and published by Routledge.
On The Screen
Making YouTube safe to share
Have a YouTube video you want to share in class but without the sketchy ads and comments? Check out Safe Sharing YouTube Videos with Students. The seven-minute video presented by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools explains step by step how to remove unwanted distractions from YouTube videos.
Live global map
Bring weather to life using the EarthWind Map. Manipulate the globe to see wind direction and speed around the world.
How to tell the good from the bad
Use Smart Social to separate the good apps from the bad. “The Popular App Guide for Parents and Teachers” divides apps into green, gray, and red zones based on their safety level for teens and tweens. Each app is listed with its avatar, a description, and recommended age level.
Media literacy aids
Common Sense Media provides movie, video game, and app reviews as well as media literacy education. Find lists and tips for parents (and teachers) on a variety of topics, including “How to Motivate a Middle School Reader” (bit.ly/MotivateReader) and “19 Apps and Sites for Kids Who Hate Math” (bit.ly/19MathApps).
Searchable online resources
Teachers Pay Teachers is chock-full of free and paid content by teachers for teachers. Refine your search by grade level, price, subject, and resource type to find everything from clip art and fonts to bulletin board ideas, activities, and rubrics.
Collaborative writing program
Writer’s Universe Collaborative Workshop is a new digital writing program designed for students in grades 2–8. The online program encourages students and teachers to work in a collaborative environment to sharpen writing skills in six genres, including narrative and opinion. Students respond to their teacher’s prompt and are guided though the writing process from brainstorming to editing. The writing projects are meant to fit your existing curriculum and allow students to work from school or from home. Download a brochure, watch an introductory video, or request a free 30-day trial at bit.ly/BenchmarkEd.
Carolyn Astfalk is a contemporary Catholic novelist, blogger, CatholicMom.com contributor, and mother of four Catholic-school students ranging from preschool to high school.
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